What to Expect at the Falcone Festival

This includes inormation about the setting and what to expect during the days spent at the competition and festival (Friday through Monday). Here are some easy links to find things on this page:

This page and the documents referred to within are available as PDFs, text only:


Michigan is in the Eastern Time Zone (like the US East Coast) and at the time of the Festival, Michigan is on Eastern Daylight Saving Time. All times indicated are the actual times in the Whitehall, Michigan, area.

All Falcone Festival competitors are responsible for having the correct edition of the competition pieces. PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK the Festival website for details! All competitors also must bring all required piano scores with them. The Competition begins Friday afternoon and concludes with the finals Monday night.

The Setting

The events of the Festival are held on the campus of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (300 East Crystal Lake Rd in Twin Lake).
This link will take you to directions to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.
This link will give you a pdf map of the Camp.

BLFAC entrance sign
After you turn into camp on Crystal Lake Road, approximately one half mile east of Russell Road you will see a large parking lot on the north (left) side of the road. Please park here; this is the main parking area used during the Falcone Festival. The large two-story building on the south side of the road is where the majority of our activities take place. The building goes by several names, as it serves a variety of purposes. It is called the Student Activity Center (SAC) which houses Marek Dining Hall (for Blue Lake campers located on the second floor) and Blodgett Lobby and Recital Hall, which are on the street side of the building with an entrance on the ground floor.

Below: Approach to Parking Lot (left) with Blodgett Lobby Entrance visible on right


Below: Doors into Marek where Orientation Meeting is held; Entrance to Blodgett Lobby

MarekEntrance BlodgettLobbyEntrance

After entering the Blodgett Lobby, you can find the mezzanine where practice and warm-up rooms are located; Falcone contestants will share these with Blue Lake campers and instructors. Part of the competition takes place in an area called Camp Niblock; more about that later.

The Campus

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (BLFAC) is rustic, but comfortable and nestled among tall pines adjacent to Blue Lake. Many contestants, weather permitting, may rehearse or warm up outside in spots of their choosing. The camp has many acres of such spots to choose from. In past years motels have agreed to permit practicing in rooms or on motel grounds during limited hours if it does not disturb travelers who must rest during those hours. It has generally been acceptable to practice between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm.LakeBench

Summer Considerations

The West Michigan area around Blue Lake in the summer is generally quite humid and usually hot, with temperatures in the 80’s or 90’s (degrees Fahrenheit).

While the motels are air conditioned, the camp is not. However, Blodgett Recital Hall and Niblock (where practice rooms and competition venues are located) are air conditioned.

Dress Code

Dress throughout the Festival is casual and contestants may wear whatever they wish for the semi-final rounds, since no one will see them. However, during the final rounds, most competitors choose to be dressed as they would for giving a recital. Finalists will perform in front of an audience, which includes the adjudicators, other competitors, friends, and family. Contestants are required to wear name badges (provided at Orientation meeting) at all times while at BLFAC, as we are guests at the camp. (There are approximately 1100 campers on site.)

Logistics Team

Once the semi-finalists and alternates have been identified, the Logistics Team will send out additional information about travel, accommodations, etc. to each competitor. This is sent following verification that those named as semi-finalists will be attending the competition,typically in late May. If a semi-finalist is unable to attend, the Logistics Co-Chair will invite the first alternate in that division to attend.

Abbreviated 4-day Schedule

 Friday 3:00 - 4:30   Orientation meeting 
   7:30 pm  Guest Artist/s recital
 Saturday  9 am - noon  First round: unaccompanied
   1:30 - 6:00 pm  Rehearse with collaborative pianists
   7:30 pm  Adjudicator recital
 Sunday  9:00 am - noon  Second round: accompanied
   noon  Pictures and luncheon where finalists announced
   Afternoon  Finalists meet with collaborative pianists or band
     Contestants meet with judges for their comments
   4:00 pm  Euphonium-Tuba Ensemble rehearsal
   7:30 pm  Band concert with Guest Artist/s & E-T Ensemble
Monday  Morning  Warm-up and Master Classes
   2:00 pm  Student Divisions Finals
   7:15 pm  Artist Divisions Finals
   approx. 9:30 pm  Afterglow


The Orientation Meeting

The competition actually begins with an orientation meeting on Friday afternoon at 3:00 pm (Eastern Daylight Saving Time) at the SAC conference room (second floor on the west side of building). At this meeting:

  • You will receive your name badge, t-shirt, and program; the judges and Logistics Team volunteers (aka “elves”) will be introduced.
  • Throughout the competition, each competitor will be identified by a letter of the alphabet. We will hold a drawing for your letter (A through J for artist levels; A through F for student levels); these letters are used for determining the order of play Saturday morning and for rehearsing with pianists Saturday afternoon. On Sunday morning, the order is reversed, so competitors play in order from F to A or J to A.
  • Sue Topping, our Treasurer, will accept any outstanding payments for your accompanist fee, along with payment for guests (spouses, parents, friends, etc.) who wish to join the competitors, judges, and volunteers at the luncheon Sunday noon. Cost of the luncheon for competitors is covered by the registration fee.
  • Following the meeting, which takes approximately one hour, a guided tour of the building will be offered for those interested.

Below: Treasurer Sue Topping checks her lists as competitors receive their materials; President Phil Sinder addresses the competitors, family, and friends; Drawing for order of play

Friday Checkin  Friday meeting 
       Orientation4Drawing for letters   Drawing

After the Meeting

Following the orientation meeting, most competitors practice and perhaps get something to eat. Those with access to cars may go back to their hotel or to a local restaurant. Those staying at camp have a lot of choices for places to practice. Food is available for purchase at the snack bar or Kresge Hall (where camp faculty and counsellors eat). Meal cost at Kresge will be $5.00; friends and family are also welcome to eat there at the same price. In the past, competitors have even ordered pizza to be delivered (we can’t guarantee this will be possible). Competitors are responsible for their own meals throughout the competition, except Sunday luncheon.

Below: The snack bar; The road to Faculty Village and Kresge Lodge; Faculty Village is NOT where you will find food, it houses the administrative offices; Entrance to Kresge Lodge

SnackBar   FacVillage KresgeFaculty Village sign  KresgeLodge   

Guest Artist/s Recital

Friday evening the Guest Artist/s recital begins at 7:30 pm in Blodgett Recital Hall. This event is open to everyone. All competitors are strongly encouraged to take part in all of these non-competition events. CDs, Festival t-shirts, and other items will be available for purchase in the lobby before the recital. This merchandise will also be offered before the Adjudicators’ 7:30 pm recital on Saturday, before the luncheon Sunday, and before the Artist Finals Monday evening.

Below: Pre-concert in the Blodgett Lobby; Guest Artist Recital; Lobby sales

Pre concert in Blodgett Lobby   Guest Artist Recital  

LobbySales   LobbySales2



Saturday morning begins with the unaccompanied semi-final competition. Both semi-final rounds (unaccompanied on Saturday and accompanied on Sunday) are closed to the public. The playing and judging are done “blind”—that is, the competitors play for judges who sit behind a screen and do not know the identities of the players.

Competitors are required to check in and encouraged to warm up in the Blodgett mezzanine practice rooms.

In Blodgett, where everyone goes to warm up: Typical mezzanine practice room; Looking down from the mezzanine (2)

Mezzanine Practice Room    Looking From the Mezzanine     Looking From the Mezzanine2

Student competitors (on Saturday only) and Euphonium Artist competitors (both days) are driven out to Camp Niblock to compete. Tuba Artists and Student competitors (on Sunday) play in Blodgett.

Below: Contestant waiting for Niblock shuttle in Blodgett Lobby, chatting with "elf"; Meeting the Niblock shuttle outside Blodgett prior to being driven to Niblock; Unloading from the shuttle outside Niblock

Meet the elf    NiblockShuttle       

Below: In Blodgett, where the Tuba Artists compete, looking from the stage; Blodgett stage set-up for accompanied semi-final round

Blodgett Looking From the Stage     Competition in Blodgett

Below: Entrance to Niblock Lodge; Unloading from the shuttle outside Niblock; Checking in before competing; Competition set-up in Niblock for unaccompanied and accompanied semi-final rounds

Niblock Entry View  NiblockShuttle unloading  Niblock Check In Before Entry

Competition in Niblock  Setup Niblock

Rehearsal with PianistAfternoon

Saturday afternoon, semi-finalists rehearse in mezzanine practice rooms with their respective collaborative pianist.







Adjudicator RecitalAdjudicator Recital

Saturday evening is the Adjudicator Recital, held at 7:30 pm in Blodgett Recital Hall. This event is open to everyone. Again, all competitors are strongly encouraged to take part in all of these non-competition events. CDs, Festival t-shirts, and other items will be available for purchase in the lobby before the recital. This merchandise will also be offered before the luncheon Sunday and before the Artist Finals Monday evening.




Sunday morning begins with the accompanied semi-final competition. Both semi-final rounds (unaccompanied Saturday and accompanied Sunday) are closed to the public. The playing and judging are done “blind”—that is, the competitors play for judges who sit behind a screen and do not know the identities of the players. Competitors will participate in reverse order from the Saturday round. Competitors are required to check in and encouraged to warm up in the Blodgett mezzanine practice rooms.

After competing, your time is your own until noon, when you must be at Blodgett Lobby with your instrument, wearing your Festival t-shirt, ready for the photo session.

Starting at Noon

After the photo session is the luncheon. All competitors are expected to join us; friends and family are welcome. Reservations are required for the Sunday luncheon; competitors eat free and there is a nominal charge for friends and family. During the luncheon, the finalists in each of the four divisions (Euphonium Artist, Tuba Artist, Euphonium Student, and Tuba Student) will be announced.

Below: Organizing for the photo session; At the luncheon in Blodgett Lobby

Waiting for Photo Shoot     Sunday Luncheon

While the competition continues for those twelve people (three in each of the four divisions) it becomes a true Festival for everyone else. Involvement with the judges is not only allowed, but encouraged! Judges for each division are available to share their comments regarding your performance in the semi-final rounds.

Below: Artist Finalists confer with the Conductor of the Blue Lake Festival Band; Competitors get notes from Judges on their Semi-Final Performance

Finalists Conferring with Joe     Getting Notes on Semi Final Performance

Sunday afternoon the finalists rehearse with the collaborative pianists or the Blue Lake Festival Band, as appropriate. All participants are invited to rehearse as part of the Festival Euphonium-Tuba Ensemble, along with the adjudicators and other volunteers. The Festival Euphonium-Tuba Ensemble performs during the Sunday evening concert at Stewart Shell.

Below: Artist Finalist rehearsing with the Blue Lake Festival Band in the Stewart Shell

Artist Finalists Rehearse with Festival Band   

Live Broadcast Concert

Sunday evening is the live broadcast concert at 7:30 pm at the Stewart Shell. The Blue Lake Festival Band plays several pieces, accompanies the guest artist/s, and the Festival Euphonium-Tuba Ensemble plays. The audience consists of approximately 1100 Blue Lake campers, friends of the Festival, and other public who attend Blue Lake concerts.

Below: Pre-concert in the Steward Shell; Phil Sinder announcing during the broadcast, the Festival Euphonium-Tuba Ensemble at fight

Stewart Shell Interior    ET Ensemble at Stewart Shell



Monday morning offers a group warmup session for all, and several master classes for various divisions.

Below: Student Master Class in Niblock; Artist Master Class in Blodgett

Student Master Class   Artist Master Class

Student NiblockEntranceSignFinals

The final competition for the student divisions is held Monday afternoon at 2:00 at Niblock. This event is open to everyone. All adjudicators will be rating the competitors. Carpooling is encouraged as parking is limited!


Below: The road to Niblock (take the right fork and go slowly - one lane road with potholes); Entrance at Niblock; Audience setup inside Niblock; All adjudicators rate the Student Finalists

   NiblockRoute   NiblockEntrance

StudentFinalsSetup2   All Judges Hear Student Finals

Artist Finals and Ceremony

The final competition for the artist divisions is held Monday evening beginning at 7:15 at Blodgett Recital Hall. This event is open to everyone. All adjudicators will be rating the competitors.

Below: Artist Finalists play in Blodgett with either the Blue Lake Festival Band or one of the collaborative pianists

Artist Finals with Blue Lake Festival Band   Artist Finals in Blodgett

Following the artist finals, all twelve of the medalists are announced and the medals and awards are distributed in Blodgett Auditorium. Following the awards ceremony, everyone is invited to the afterglow, a modest party where contestants, family and friends, adjudicators, and volunteers gather to wrap-up the festival.

Below: Presentation of the awards; The medallions-Gold, Silver, and Bronze for each of the four divisions; 2017 Euphonium Artists medallists

Awarding the Medallions   The Medallions   Medalists

Please also refer to either the Daily Events page on the Festival website or the Daily Events pdf document to
learn which events are open to the general public.

Photo Tom
Additional pictures may be found using the Flickr link at the bottom of each web page.
Most photographs included here are courtesy of Tom Hentschel.






March 31...Application Deadline
May 1...Semi-Finalists Notified
August 10-13...Festival Competition 

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